In a week with lots of other Billie Eilish things going on — including Variety’s two cover stories, her acoustic performance at Apple’s headquarters and, not least, reports of a multi-million-dollar documentary deal with Apple — a new video from the 17-year-old singer has also arrived.
The clip — for the song “Xanny,” from her multiple Grammy-nominated album “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go” — is Eilish’s directorial debut, but it follows a similar theme to many of her previous ones, in that she’s in a state of physical discomfort. Where “Ocean Eyes” saw her smearing makeup across her face; “When the Party’s Over,” showed her with black liquid pouring from her eyes like tears; and in “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” she’s a winged reptile who emerges from an oily swamp while explosions erupt around her, for this one she’s sitting in an off-white room, in a very-Xanny-like state, while unseen people’s arms stab out lit cigarettes on her face. Ouch! The video’s message may be anti-smoking, echoing that of the song, which is actually anti-Xanny (“I don’t need a Xanny to feel better”).
Yesterday at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, Eilish played stripped-down acoustic set with her brother and writing/producer partner Finneas on guitar and piano, featuring a custom, one night-only production design from acclaimed creative director Es Devlin (Adele, Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar). The staging surrounded Eilish and Finneas (who performs under his first name) with trees and alternately brooding, horror-movie lighting that created a fitting enchanted forest environment to accompany the songs from Eilish’s debut “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”